This is a friend's PC, Dell Optiplex260, WinXP/SP2 which I have reinstalled (r method, not formatted) twice trying to fix this. There is sound, no conflicts, nothing, everything is as it should be.....except when it is shut down or re-started; then it vanishes into thin air, although it IS still there, it just doesn't load!! I get it back by uninstalling SoundMAX and then either re-booting (sometimes it will say it found new hardware, sometimes not but it does reinstall it) or by using Add/Remove Hardware, BUT neither method adds the sound icon to the sys tray. The only I can get it there is to run a little prog. called Taskbar Repair Tool. Once I do all that, everything is fine, as if there is no problem at all, until it is either shut down or re-booted. I have set a restore point when all is well, re-booted so I know it is gone again, restore and it still is not there. (well, it is, I just have to go through the process again) Any ideas will be greatly appreciated before I'm totally bald!!!